Computer law expert says British hacker arrest problematic – Colorado News

Computer law expert says British hacker arrest problematic – Colorado News

LONDON | A computer law expert on Friday described the evidence behind the U.S. arrest of a notorious British cybersecurity researcher as being problematic — an indictment so flimsy that it could create a climate of distrust between the U.S. government and the community of software experts.

News of Marcus Hutchins’ arrest in the United States for allegedly creating and selling malicious software able to collect bank account passwords has shocked the cybersecurity community. Many had rallied behind the British hacker, whose quick thinking helped control the spread of the WannaCry ransomware attack that crippled thousands of computers in May.

Attorney Tor Ekeland told The Associated Press that the facts in the indictment fail to show intent.

“This is a very, very problematic prosecution to my mind, and I think it’s bizarre that the United States government has chosen to prosecute somebody who’s arguably their hero in the WannaCry malware attack and potentially saved lives and thousands, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars over the sale of alleged malware,” Ekeland said. “This is just bizarre, it creates a disincentive for anybody in the information security industry to cooperate with the government.”

Hutchins was detained in Las Vegas as he was returning to his home in southwest Britain from an annual gathering of hackers and information security gurus. A grand jury indictment charged Hutchins with creating and distributing malware known as the Kronos banking Trojan.

Such malware infects web browsers, then captures usernames and passwords when an unsuspecting user visits a bank or other trusted location, enabling cybertheft.

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